65% of Saint Lucians Obese, Health Officials Say

Monday, Feb 19


ccording to Ministry officials, Saint Lucians are grappling with issues of overweight and obesity.

Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Shana Cyr-Philbert, disclosed this information, stating that it was revealed in a recently conducted survey of Saint Lucians.

Dr. St. Cyr-Philbert emphasized that this data points to a concerning health crisis that requires immediate attention.

One of the concerning findings for us was the fact that 65% of St. Lucians were either overweight or obese. That means what we call the body mass index was above what it needed to be. So that means we have a population which is a bit bigger than they should be. And of course, that comes with risk factors for diseases like cancer and heart disease,” she explained.

She says the prevalence of overweight and obesity among the population highlights the need for urgent intervention and comprehensive public health strategies aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles and reducing associated health risks.

The prevalence of NCDs underscores the need for comprehensive preventive measures and effective management strategies to address the root causes and reduce the incidence of these diseases.

Also looked at raised blood pressure or hypertension. Almost 40% of St. Lucians had high blood pressure. So that, of course, is concerning, because high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for strokes and heart attacks.”

Dr. St. Cyr-Philbert further highlighted that many Saint Lucians are afflicted by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), adding that this is a significant concern for the Ministry of Health. NCDs, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers, pose a considerable health burden on individuals and the healthcare system as a whole.

As part of the Universal Health Coverage, the Government provides free medication to treat diabetes and hypertension and has plans to introduce a new basket of services to address cancer and renal screening.